Anne-Marie Levine

At Dinner

My father ate an avocado half with his dinner every night.
He carved a face into the pit very other night.
Why did he do that, I wonder now?

There were three of us at dinner every night
and Gaby who served. The vegetable man, Pete,
who was Greek, would come by the house twice a week
in his truck, and Gaby would go out and chat
and choose avocados.

Vegetables were plentiful and fruit too,
in Beverly Hills, Southern California,
the 1950's and they were not seasonal.
We had them, and the flowers, year 'round.

We had come from Belgium, all of us.
We had fled in the first days of the War.
In those winters you had only endive and cauliflower.
Avocado every day was an abundance.

I could feel his glee a he carved.